Tasermiut Fjord, Sermitsiaq region, Hermelnbjerg northwest pillar; Ketil region, Ulamertorssuaq, Moby Dick, ascent; and Nalumasortoq, Non C è Senza Tre, ascent. Between mid-June and mid- July eight Norwegians visited the Tasermiut Fjord in the yacht Sumithra. The two sailors, Rei- dar Gregersen and Audun Hetland, were making their last stop in a round-the-world voyage, which ended in late August back in Norway. The climbers, Bjarte Bø, Rune Halkjelsvik, Lars Hetland, Anders Mordal, Torkel Røysli, and I used the opportunity to explore the fjord.
Bø and Røysli left the boat in the Ketil region and climbed Non C è Due Senza Tre on Nalumasortoq and Moby Dick on Ulamertorssuaq. They thought that Non C è Senza Tre was a magnificent route but had doubts that the “first ascensionists” had really climbed as far as the actual summit. Their disbelief was based on the original topo, which is inconsistent with the rock at the top of the route.
The rest of us wanted to explore the unnamed valley south of the Sermitsiaq that leads to the eastern flanks of the Tininnertuup Qaqqat Group, where we made our main goal the northwest pillar of Hermelnbjerg. We had studied the pillar on the map and seen Erik Massih’s pictures of it taken from the valley [Massih visited this valley in 2002, making the first ascent of the northeast pillar of 1,725m Tininnertuup—Ed.], which gave us an indication of what to expect.
The approach to the start of the climb took us four hours. It was easy to avoid the worst dwarf birch jungle, a problem that can prove a big challenge in neighboring valleys. The worst obstacles were large boulder scree and some river crossings. However, the approach overall was a beautiful trek.
The first four pitches of the climb ascended good rock on the right flank of the pillar, following big features on a clean slab. The next three pitches lay in a wet, dark, scary gully. Hauling sacks was hard work and dangerous, as the bags knocked off plenty of rocks. Once we left the gully the rock became much better. In general the granite is coarse and granular, which means it can be a little porous, but it is comparable with the granite on Ulamertorssuaq.
The remainder of the route followed dihedrals and chimneys, interspersed with slabby sections.
We wanted to free-climb as much as possible, but wet conditions and bad weather forced us to use aid in some sections. These were relatively easy, and I think the route will go free easily in good conditions.
Above the seventh pitch the flank of the pillar got increasingly steeper, until we reached the crest at the top of pitch 20. We followed the crest for another five or six pitches, until we got to the top of the pillar but we did not continue to the 1,912m summit of the Hermelnbjerg. [The main summit was first climbed in 1971, via the northeast ridge by two members of an Irish expedition. It is not clear that it has been reached again.]
Five rappels got us down to the snow slopes on the north side of the mountain. From here we slanted down to the plateau between Hermelnbjerg and spot height 1,339m on the map. Then we walked south, crossing a glacier, to regain our valley We called the route “Alle vil til himmelen, men ingen vil dø.” It is 26 pitches long and offers 1,300m of varied climbing at a grade of Norwegian 6+ and A2.
It took seven days to climb the route (with portaledges) and one day to descend. A normal free rack is fine, as long as it includes big cams. Although the weather was excellent for most of the climb, with sunshine and temperatures between 10-15°C, on the last two days we got first snow and a strong breeze, then heavy rain.
After a week resting and fishing, Hetland, Mordal, and I spent three days climbing Moby Dick on Ulamertorssuaq. We also made two free ascents of Mosquito Attack (seven pitches, 6b A0, Körner and Redder, 2000) on the west face of Little Ulamertorssuaq (a.k.a. The Pyramid). The grading of the route by the first ascensionists was very inconsistent, both on the climb and compared with other grades in the area. It was also bolted in a way that is not normal in our climbing ethic, with several bolts placed right next to perfect cracks.
Lars Nessa, Norway